Of Bombers and Bacteria

On September 1, 2010, in Foreign Policy, Terrorism, by Dustin Wood

In a few days our nation will stop to reflect on that September morning nine years ago when scores of our fellow Americans fell at the hands of Muslim terrorists. Everyone has his or her own 9-11 story. I was on my way to work traveling along I-430 in Little Rock listening to country music on KSSN-96. Whatever song was playing ended (something by Ty Herndon, I think) and the morning DJ, Bob Robbins, came on the air to say there were reports of a small twin-engine plane striking the World Trade Center in New York. Arriving at work, I said hello to our receptionist and asked if she heard about the, “…little plane that hit the World Trade Center.” She looked over her glasses at me and replied, “It wasn’t little.”

Like watching a familiar episode of any show in syndication, we all know how the story unfolds. Shock and innuendo filled the remainder of my day. How many people died? Was the flight that went down in the Pennsylvania field related? An attorney I worked with came by my office and told me to leave about thirty minutes early. When I asked why he replied that I needed to get as much gasoline as possible since oil pipelines in the Middle East were being shutdown out of fear of attacks. “Gas is about to get a lot more expensive.” he said.

Over There, Not Over Here

There’s a problem with U.S. thinking on the 9-11 attacks that I don’t believe is readily acknowledged by most people. In general, we perceive the four hijacked planes on that day to be the start of our struggle against Islamic terrorism. This is inaccurate.

Less than a year before thousands of American citizens were immolated on September 11th, the USS Cole was bombed while docked in Yemen. 17 soldiers were murdered that day and another 39 were injured in an attack perpetrated by the Sudanese government and Yemeni citizens. It’s also worth noting that, by the end of 2008, every terrorist convicted in that bombing had either escaped from prison or were freed by Yemeni government officials. Additionally, in 1998, Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for bombing the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In those explosions 224 people were murdered including 12 Americans. This list could continue to include the Al Qaeda bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 as well as the October 1983 bombing of the USMC barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. However, if you want to get right to the core of Islamic terrorism against our country, you can go all the way back to 1785. In March of that year, the U.S. dispatched its two French ambassadors, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, to speak with Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, the London envoy of Tripoli. They spoke with Mr. Abdrahaman and asked by what right the Barbary States (modern day Algeria, Libya and Tunisia) attacked American vessels and enslaved the U.S. citizens thereon. They pointed out that the U.S. had not taken part in crusades and had no issue with Islam. As Jefferson and Adams later reported to Congress:

“He said it was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every Muslim who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise.”

These acts of enslavement and piracy were no small ordeal. Estimates of Americans and European persons taken into slavery by the state sponsored pirates (terrorists) of the Barbary States go upward of around 1.5 million people. Jefferson later dispatched the U.S. Navy to bombard the Barbary States into submission until they agreed to no longer attack American ships. Incidentally, the U.S.M.C. hymn recalls this action in its lyric, “…to the shores of Tripoli.

Therefore, the contention as posited by the anti-war left in our country is not merely frivolous in its assertions that U.S. foreign policy is the cause of radical Islamic jihad, it’s actually a flat out lie. However, none of these examples excuse the fact that Americans on the whole gave little to no thought concerning the very real threat from Islamic terrorists. Since close to the founding of our country, terrorism against our people was largely ignored until the events of 9-11. It was a problem, “over there” and not, “over here”.

Bacterial Nature

I was hesitant to label this section Bacterial Nature as I thought it on some level to be condescending to other humans – namely the terrorists. I thought it in low taste to steep to such a level as theirs, because, whereas they commonly refer to us as “crusaders” or “infidels”, I thought comparing them to bacteria would be to sink to their level. Thus, let me state on the front side that this is not in reference to them, but rather with regard to the way they act and adapt.

Mold and bacteria are amazing creatures. For millennia unseen by human eyes (or perhaps a few centuries if you believe The Flintstones to be an animated docudrama), bacteria and mold engaged in a struggle for supremacy over food.  Eventually, some molds began to produce antibacterial chemicals to kill off the competition. It worked fine until a few bacteria survived by developing a resistance to the mold’s chemical assault. The mold would then have to adapt to kill off those bacteria who had become resistant. Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming discovered this microbial battle in 1928 while working with the penicillin mold. Hence, the age of the antibiotic was born.

Islamic jihadists operate in much the same way as the bacteria. While our earlier attempts at countering their actions in the Barbary States were quite successful, they are starting to adapt their techniques and we are not (if you’ll excuse the phrase) evolving fast enough. One failure of this can be seen in the stipulations ordered by our own Transportation Security Administration. They list the things they’re looking for. It would only make sense, then, for the terrorists to hide their weapons and techniques where we tell them we’re not looking.

In 2005 as the murmurs over illegal immigration were getting well underway, I engaged in a friendly debate with a liberal friend of mine. She contended that all the arguments made against illegal immigration rested on issues of racism against Hispanics. I disagreed. I told her that my issue with illegal immigration rested on national security issues. As I pointed out to her, “What’s to stop a member of Al Qaeda from crossing from Mexico into the U.S. with a dirty bomb? If that happens, we don’t know where he’s at and the next thing you know, downtown Los Angeles or Houston is made uninhabitable for the next 100 years due to the radioactive fallout. To say nothing of the people who will die slow, agonizing deaths from radiation exposure illnesses like cancer.”

My liberal friend brushed aside my argument on the basis of it being unrealistic. About a year later, the House Homeland Security Committee released a report that operatives of Hezbollah were captured attempting to illegally enter the country from Mexico. Likewise, in 2005, Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, brother to a Hezbollah chief pled guilty to charges of providing material support to Hezbollah after his arrest in the heavily Muslim area of Dearborn, Michigan. He was smuggled into the country via Mexico as well.

The terrorist bombers intent on killing us are changing their tactics just as the bacteria competing for food altered their resistance against chemicals produced by competing molds. We need a new antibiotic.

“There” Is the New “Here”

Whereas once our struggles against Islamic terrorism were confined to over-sea operations, the game has changed. I wonder, sometimes, if Americans are still cognizant of this fact. Not to discount the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, terrorism wasn’t much on the minds of U.S. citizens until 9-11. Since then, the terrorists have been telling us that the game board has changed. I just wonder how many people are listening.

For a quick rundown of how they’ve let us know this while on our own soil, consider the following:

June, 2009, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, an Islamic convert, murders one soldier and wounds another outside a Little Rock military recruiting station; September, 2009, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a Jordanian national, plots to blow up the Fountain Place building in downtown Dallas; November, 2009, Nidal Hasan, a Muslim psychiatrist serving in the U.S. Army, murders 13 and wounds 30 at Fort Hood, Texas; December, 2009, Umar Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian national, attempted to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 flying from Amsterdam to Detroit; May, 2010, Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen and Muslim, born in Pakistan, fails in his attempt to detonate a Nissan Pathfinder loaded with explosives in Times Square; and, August, 2010, two Yemeni Muslims attempt a “dry run” to scout out U.S. airport security by making mock-up bombs and stowing them away in their luggage.

Mile High Racial Profiling

Probably the most controversial of our adaptations to counter the terrorist threat is the use of racial profiling. I can honestly say that every time I’ve been in an airport security checkpoint and seen a person of obvious Middle Eastern descent, that person is inevitably subjected to “random additional security screening measures.” The practice of racial profiling isn’t limited to government officials, however. I myself have been party to it. In 2005 on a flight from New England to Arkansas, I had a connection through Newark International Airport. After the pilot advised the passengers and crew that we were on our final approach to land, a woman of dark complexion wearing a hijab sitting several rows ahead of me got up from her seat and began walking towards the back of the plane. I was sitting in an aisle seat. Just before she got to my location, I put my hand and leg into the aisle of the plane – remember, I’m 6’4. The woman turned and looked at me and asked what I was doing. I informed her that we were on our final approach and she needed to sit back down. She told me then that she desperately needed use the bathroom. I in turn told her that I understood, but that our instructions from the captain were to be in our seats as we were about to land. At this point, the woman became angry and began raising her voice.

“You’re only acting like this because I’m a Muslim!” she cried.

The flight attendants took notice of this and headed in our direction. Other passengers, too, began taking a heightened interest in our exchange.

“Yes I am. So what?” was my response to her.

At this point the Muslim woman became incised and started yelling that I was a racist and Islamophobe. The approaching flight attendants were starting to say, “Ma’am, Ma’am?” with increasing volume.

It was then that I informed the woman, in a voice low enough to be heard by her but not the flight crew, that if she didn’t turn around and walk away, she wouldn’t be conscious for the landing. Actually, my words were something along the lines of, “Sit your ass down before I beat the fuck out of you.” But in the moment, my blood stream was coursing with adrenalin from fear for me to now to recall exactly what it was I said. The flight crew arrived just as those harsh words had left my mouth and escorted the woman back to her seat. It should go without saying that I’m a nervous flyer and this woman’s stunt didn’t help.

Would I have reacted the same way if a white man or white woman aged 30 to 60 had acted the same way during that final approach? It’s a justified question and I have an obligation to respond. The most honest and succinct answer I can proffer is this – I don’t know. I’ve given a lot of thought to this exchange since that time and what I can say is that I hope I would have behaved in a similar fashion. In light of our white, “home grown”, Islamic terrorists like Colleen LaRose, a.k.a, Jihad Jane, Adam Gadahn, and John Walker Lindh, I certainly hope so, but I can’t be certain. What this says to me is that racial profiling, while effective at some level, is insufficient in and of itself. Just as many antibiotics are now useless if not used in conjunction with another medication, so too must our security and intelligence forces prepare additional mechanisms to prevent those who do not, “look like a terrorist,” from bringing harm to our person and our country.

It’s a miracle that more Americans have not been murdered on our soil by terrorists. We are being asked to submit to a radical form of Islam. We’re being invited to this submission by violence and, ultimately, to become part of the reestablished Islamic caliphate. This “invitation” isn’t going to be rescinded. It will be asked again and again. However, the only question for us as Americans to decide is how we will respond. Shall we RSVP and cast our pearls of liberty and freedom to the swine or, rather, shall we decline the invitation, cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war on an extremist ideology that wishes to enslave us all?

A Post Script

Zombietime.com is one of my favorite websites. The blogger and photojournalist who started the site, and who goes simply by the name of “Zombie”, chronicles the goings-on of the far left in and around the San Francisco bay area. If you look at the pictures there, the theme of the bay area leftists couldn’t be clearer: America is the problem. And I must say that, on some level, I agree with these idiots.

For every member of the Taliban who believes stoning or throwing acid in the faces of unveiled women is appropriate, America is a problem. For every Iranian cleric who believes that hanging gay teenagers is appropriate punishment for their “crime”, America is a problem. For every Islamist who believes that a small democratic nation in northern Europe should have its embassies burned because of the printing of a few cartoons of Mohammad in a secular newspaper, America is a problem. For every terrorist who thinks that suicide bombing innocent people in a Bali hotel, an Israeli market, or a Russian theater is an act of bravery, America is a problem. And for every jihadist who wishes to usurp our ideals of freedom of, and from, religion by forcing us at gunpoint to convert to their faith, America is a problem.

The views expressed in this blog are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of Right Pride or GOProud.


1 Response » to “Of Bombers and Bacteria”

  1. Sean says:

    Since there is no “right of air travel” and the only contention is the selectivity of the TSA process of whom to interrogate – – -raising Equal Protection issues – – then I say do what Israel’s national airline El Al does: make all passengers arrive three hours early and make ALL of them be screened with questionnaires designed to smoke out suspects. If anything an intending passenger says does not add up – they don’t fly. No discrimination =- complete equal treatment for all!

    Yeah I know it make an uncertain, tedious and drawn out process of making flights and connections that much more uncertain and distressing. Too bad! There is no “right” to air travel.